The name of the first slave ship built in the English colonies was named the Desire. Bernard Harris, Jr. was the first black astronaut to walk in space. Knowing facts like these helps make black history live more vividly in your mind.

Mae Jemison

Mae Jemison was the first black woman astronaut. Dr. Jemison had a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Stanford University and a medical degree from Cornell University. She worked in Sierra Leone and Liberia as the Area Peace Corps Medical Officer.

Garrett Morgan

Garrett Morgan invented the automatic stoplight and gas mask. Morgan was also a businessman who owned a sewing machine shop and a tailoring shop. He also had ten siblings.

Thurgood Marshall

Thurgood Marshall was the lawyer that won the 1954 case Brown vs. Board of Education, Topeka. This case destroyed legal basis for school segregation. Marshall was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1967. Marshall persevered even though he was denied admission to University of Maryland School of Law in 1930 because he was black.


Songhay was a powerful kingdom in ancient Africa in the 1400s and 1500s. At its pinnacle, the kingdom stretched 2,000 miles. Books were important to this kingdom and were highly sought after. The kings of this kingdom retained doctors, judges and other educated men.

Sarah Goode

Sarah Goode became the first black woman to receive a patent from the US patent and Trademark Office in 1885. She received her patent for the precursor to the modern-day roll away bed. Goode was born as a slave in 1850. She later owned her own furniture store.

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About the Author

Alexandra Wright is a freelance writer and professional educator. She has taught English as a second language and has experience teaching English at the elementary, secondary and university levels. Wright holds a Master of Arts in English literature.